The Beauty of Words: Part IV

Literature is such a very beautiful thing, even when it depicts the most grotesque horrors and intense misery that humankind could ever know. But there is ugliness to be found in the actual act of writing. Producing groups of sentences that become paragraphs that become chapters in one seamless story is much like producing a film, frame by frame, the filming of which finds the actors and crew anxious, exhausted, yet forced to be their very best.

When I write, I try to read my words as if I knew them to be written by someone else. I do this not for the sake of being objective about my work (I do not believe that such a thing is possible for any writer, sans one suffering from an unfortunate and severe case of either schizophrenia or short-term memory loss), I do this in order to try to forget the horrors of my own mind.

I try to create a blank slate in my mind, free of the anxiety and self-doubt of the individual who put those words on paper months, days, or in many cases mere moments before. I want to remove myself from her racing mind, racing through several details of life simultaneously, both petty and pressing. I want to quiet the sounds in her mind that are reminiscent of a 50-toddler strong temper tantrum.

I cannot be calm, quiet, and 100% focused. Even when I appear to be, even when I am immersed in my writing, I will be making grocery lists at the back of my mind, forcing my mighty memory to retain the names of songs that I need to download, and even thinking about other writing projects as my hands move rhythmically across the keyboard.

This is ugly. Trying to be completely focused and always, always failing is ugly. But when I read something that I wrote and I love it, when others read it and it moves them, therein lies the beauty.

One Night at McCool’s (2001)

One Night at McCool's

A few years ago, I was flipping channels when I came across what is, quite possibly, one of the worst comedies ever, “One Night at McCool’s”. The film initially struck my fancy because it combines red hair with a young and still ridiculously hot Liv Tyler (What? She’s really beautiful!). Unfortunately, things went swiftly downhill from there.

This film is about a sexy young con-artist/whore-for-rent, Jewel, whom (after fabricating a story of being almost-raped) dupes bartender Randy into keeping silent after she kills her supposed rapist by giving Randy what is undoubtedly the best sex of his life.

Randy soon grows to despise Jewels materialism and manipulation and the story might have been redeemable….if Jewel didn’t proceed to similarly hoodwink every other man who comes into her life. Everyone, from Randy’s married cousin to a widowed detective fall for Jewel’s charms and lies as she cock teases them into making the most moronic decisions of their lives.

Still, this story of a gorgeous woman of average intelligence pulling the wool over numerous sets of eyes is hilarious because we, the audience, know that none of her scheming could have been successful if Jewel were ugly, no matter brilliant she might be.

My only real gripe with the film is that Jewel could have done better with her choices of men, both aesthetically and financially. The woman seemed to be compulsively drawn to deadbeats, losers and otherwise undesirable men of average financially means, putting a great deal of energy into what she viewed as the end-all, be-all con: snagging herself a man who owned a DVD player.

Seriously?!

Look, watch this movie for the eye-candy (both Tyler and co-start Matt Dillon were at their peak here) and hilarity, but don’t expect substance from this one.

Undeniable: Mat Kearney

“It’s undeniable, how brilliant you are.
In an unreliable world, you shine like a star.
It’s unforgettable. now that we’ve come this far,
It’s unmistakable that you’re undeniable.”

I haven’t had the best luck with lovers and with family, but I can say unabashedly that I have the greatest friends in the world, friends that have stuck by me through life’s up and down, through several years, friendships that are older than most high school seniors. And I absolutely love every single one of them like my very next breath.

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead: Stars

“God, that was strange to see you again.
Introduced by a friend of a friend.
Smiled and said ‘Yes I think we’ve met before’…”

It’s so strange, how past loves can creep into our minds without warning. Sometimes, you can love someone so much that you simultaneously hope to see and to never see them again, your bruised heart foolishly wanting the former, your head being intelligent enough to fear the latter.

The Beauty of Words: Part III

When I was a small child, I used to think that books held some sort of strange magic; in fact, I still do. Whenever I read a great book, I would instantly be transported to new an amazing world, become best friends with people whom I’d never met, and explore life through someone else’s eyes. Thanks to a quirk in my personality that helped lend to the belief that I, too, was magical, I decided to dedicate my life to becoming a different kind of witch, the sort of witch that would weave words together and leave readers spell-bound, only to break their hearts a little when they finished the story, still yearning for more.

I’ve lost count of the novels and short stories that have wormed their way into my heart, echoed in my mind, grew like a fungus in my dreams as I turned the last page but couldn’t let go of the life-altering growth that I’d experienced due to words on a page. I would sit there, holding a book that had just revolutionized my life and marvel at how no one else could see this change. How could they not see my breaking heart? How could they fail to mourn for the lives lost and celebrate at the freedoms gained? Why did the characters of this story fail to make anyone else’s list of worries? 

And that’s how I figured out that there’s more to the magic that merely writing, and writing well. The first step to the enchantment that is literature is to somehow draw in the reader, make them a willing victim to your words, your prose, the characters that you birth, and eventually, make your audience worship you as a god, the creator of this brave new world. I will embark on the quest to hone a magic to rival Merlin himself, to use my words to make myself invincible and immortal.